Chairman's warning over Sereni

THREE top Italian clubs have been told to go away and think again after trying to sign Matteo Sereni for nothing from Ipswich Town, writes Derek Davis.

THREE top Italian clubs have been told to go away and think again after trying to sign Matteo Sereni for nothing from Ipswich Town, writes Derek Davis.

And Blues supremo David Sheepshanks last night warned Sereni will be ordered back to join pre-season training along with the rest of the squad on July 2 if a club does not come in with a serious cash offer before then.

The Italian keeper, who kept 13 clean sheets in 23 games for Brescia after recovering from a serious hip injury, is holidaying in Sardinia at the moment but two sets of agents are frantically trying to sort out a deal to keep in Italian football next season.

Sheepshanks said: "Matteo has just finished, arguably, his most successful season ever and is highly rated by a number of top Serie A clubs who would like to sign him.

"We are aware of number of clubs who are keen to take him on a free transfer but given the amount of money we paid for him, and the fact he is rated among the top keepers in Italy, we need to get a return on our investment. We require a fee for his signature and are waiting to hear on further developments.

"Clearly, I hope something will be agreed and he can move permanently to an Italian club between now and July but if not, he will be expected to return on July 2."

Most Read

Ipswich have ruled out another season-long loan stint for Sereni to Brescia, who lost their right to sign Sereni unhindered after failing to agree by the end of April to pay the fee negotiated last year when the keeper joined them on loan.

They, along with Lazio and Sampdoria, have since tried to take him from Ipswich on a free transfer, but the club are adamant they want a fee for a player who is rated among Italy's top four keepers.

Town have factored Sereni's salary into their budget for the coming season so getting him off the wage bill would benefit Town manager Joe Royle's bid to further strengthen his squad.

Ipswich agreed a club record £4.8m transfer fee for Sereni when he signed from Sampdoria, complete with a recommendation from England boss Sven-Goran Eriksson, in August 2001.

The keeper was last week awarded £500,000 from Sampdoria after an industrial tribunal ruled in his favour following a dispute over unpaid wages by his former club.

This spat has not apparently soured relations and Sampdoria are keen to take Sereni once again.

If Sereni reluctantly returns, Portman Road will be awash with keepers. Royle has made it clear he is looking for a new No. 1 to replace Andy Marshall, who has been handed a free transfer, along with James Pullen, but as yet no club have come in for either of them, while Lewis Price has been promoted to the first-team squad.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter